Frugality

Could You Cancel Cable To Get A Better Rate Offer?

cable tv, cable subscription, cable offer

 

My neighbors were expecting the letter from the cable company indicating their promotional rate period was about to end, and their monthly rate was about to increase. They did what we all have been trained to do, they skipped threatening to cancel cable,and just called the customer retention department immediately. They explained their situation, and stated they wanted to keep the cable package they had, but wanted to be put on a new promotional period such that their bill would not increase.

This is how the process has worked for years, but this time it didn’t work.

My neighbor argued, pleaded, and even called back several more times to no avail. While they like cable, and wanted to keep it, hey were adamant that they were not going to pay the increased price as they felt it didn’t provide enough value.

But were they really ready to take their family, which included two teenage daughters, to a lifestyle without cable?

My friend investigated all the potential less expensive alternatives including an antennae, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu. It was at our kitchen table that my friend told his wife that if they invested in the equipment needed for that alternative solutions they would be committing to never having cable again.

A week later, they triumphantly proclaimed they had done it. They had given the cable company a virtual fist in the air and canceled their cable subscription. Instead of buying expensive equipment and fully committing to a life without cable, they subscribed to Amazon Prime just to get their toes wet. Each time we saw them, they spoke of binge watching some new show they had found.

Life without cable seemed to be going well.

A few weeks later, my wife’s phone chirped along with the display of a new text message from our neighbors. It jokingly stated not to be alarmed when we saw a cable company truck in front of their house the upcoming Monday. After their cable had been cancelled for about a month, they called back and asked what they could do for them if they came back.

The cable company caved, and offered them a sweet package for a year.

The lesson here is that our cable company has changed the rules. We can no longer be on a perpetual cycle of threatening to cancel at the end of a promotional period if they won’t offer a lower rate. You might have to be prepared to actually walk away from cable for a short time to save some money.

Could you do it?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

 

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About the author

Brock Kernin

18 Comments

  • We did. We lived without cable for about 6 months. We tried a monthly internet only service but our home was on the border of their service area and so our service was spotty at best, but our television viewing was horrible because we hadn’t yet stepped into the 21st century and were trying to watch with a cheap antenna which wasn’t working very well. We watched a lot of DVD’s. Then we caved, and are currently victims of THE WORST COMPANY IN AMERICA. Today I will be calling their competitor (their only competitor, unfortunately) who has far better customer service, but not any better pricing. Some day soon we will explore the world of Roku. If someone can explain it to me in terms I can understand, I would greatly appreciate it. We now have a smart tv, so I think that’s 1/2 the battle, right?

  • My neighbor did something like that once. He had the new service installed, and then the old service came back. He had so many different cords running across his lawn it was hilarious. But I guess it goes to show that it can work.

  • The thing that keeps me from flipping to the other provider is the email of the current one. My wife, daughter, and I all use the @mycableco.com email address and it would be a pain to kill it.
    If I could do it all over again, I’d have never started using an email address tied to my cable co.
    I might just start the process of getting rid of that address to get ready for the time my cable won’t extend the offer.

  • We dumped cable for two years. Used a Roku and antenna to watch about anything we wanted. There are may services and *other* options which may or may not be legal. We did not miss any current shows and only missed a live event if it wasn’t streaming or broadcasting.

    Then I found a bug in the cable company’s website that allowed me to have cable for about $25 net more per month including DVR. To me it was worth it to not skirt ethical boundaries for a few shows and keep season passes for the ones that we could. If SlingTV had announced AMC and BBC America a few weeks sooner we still wouldn’t have cable again.

    So, now we’re back on the wire until they try to jack our rates again. Without cable/satellite isn’t impossible but you need to know where to get what you want to see.

  • @Cathie I’m happy to explain using the Roku for your TV experience. I can even do a long-form write up if it’s of interest.

    @Joe Taxpayer I would suggest finding your last name or something else acceptable as a .us domain. I bought our last name and people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them to send to dan@mylastname.us. Hover will manage it for you if you don’t want to bother. I’m lucky our last name is not especially common.

    @Brock If I’m being a pain please let me know. Just trying to be helpful.

  • We’ve never actually paid for cable. Our first two apartments included it free (so I guess we were paying a premium on rent for it..I stand corrected). Only recently we added Netflix, but even before that we did just fine with the likes of Hulu, NBC.com, etc., and movies.

  • @Cathie – I think I know what company you’re speaking of. 🙂 Yeah, having a smart TV is half the battle – although you could get a blueray player, or an Amazon Fire stick that would do the same thing. Maybe I’ll do a post in the near future about Roku, and other cable alternatives. 🙂

  • @moneybeagle – I would have loved to see the nest of cables running around the yard. My brother-in-law has been swapping between DirecTV and cable for years. Once one promotion is over, he just switches to the other. I personally like consistently but….

  • @JoeTaxpayer – Huh, that’s something I hadn’t even considered…..we have our email through our cable provider as well. Although, even if we dumped cable TV, we would keep broadband through them – it’s our only option for broadband, and DSL service is just too slow for my work connection.

  • @Dan – “may or may not be legal” LOL….that’s funny. I just don’t understand why cable companies offer promotional rates to only new customers. One would think they want to keep current customers as well….but they probably think that once they get you, they got you!

  • @Ben – Yeah, nothing is ever included with an apartment…it’s just built into the rent. Kudos to you for being satisfied with what you can get online and with roku and other solutions. It’s all about your viewing habits, and what you want out of your cable TV service.

  • I ditched my cable TV (and the TiVo) at the end of my billing cycle in January. I had purchased an Amazon Fire TV stick when the promo came around. Between Amazon Prime and Hulu, I have enough to watch that I haven’t even opened my Netflix account this month, much less missed my cable TV. It will be a long time, if ever, before I go back to cable for anything other than my Internet. If I’d known it was going to be so painless, I’d have done it sooner.

  • @Jennifer – I’m glad it’s working out for you……your response has something very interesting in it: “I have enough to watch…” So, you may have switched up what you watch, and it may not be the same things as before, but you’re still entertained. Kudos to you!

  • I have been cable free for over a year now and my only regret was that I didn’t do it sooner. I bought a digital antenna for my tv and was gifted an Apple TV so I’m good. It worked for me and now I watch less tv and do more writing, reading, sewing and cooking. I couldnt be happier. I dont see myself going back to cable anytime soon, if ever.

  • @Milan – Good for you! TV takes a different place in everyone’s life – sounds like you are more fulfilled without it…AND you’re saving money!

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